Durant ISD implementing 'core-curriculum,' raised standards

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Some Durant ISD students and parents probably noticed a tougher curriculum this school school year.

The District is changing its curriculum to make it more core-focused. The change follows Oklahoma's resolve to bring all of its school districts up to national standards.

The state is one of 46 other states implementing the core curriculum.

"It's going to incorporate a lot more critical thinking," said Superintendent Jason Simeroth. "A lot more reading and writing. You're gonna have your social-studies merged with reading. Your science will be merged with math. You'll still have your independent courses, but you'll have a lot more interaction and integration between those."

Simeroth said the district started with kindergarten through third grade this year. Already, he said students and teachers have noticed the change.

"Different; it'll be different for sure," he said. "It's a little bit of rearranging how you teach it, not what you teach."

Larry Scott, assistant superintendent, said the changes focus less on multiple objectives, but devote more time to the topics.

"The biggest change is narrowing the curriculum," he said. "I think the term used in the past has been 'one-inch deep and a mile wide.' Now we're trying to have it more narrow and deeper, more in-depth."

Simeroth said the District will implement changes to grades fourth through 12th starting next fall.

He said the changes will put Durant students where he thinks they need to be.

"I don't know why somebody in Maine or New York, or somewhere like that should be taught any different material or content than somebody in Oklahoma or Mississippi," he said.

For students and parents wondering how to prepare for the change, he offered this advice - read.

"Read, read, and read some more," he said.

He said starting in 2015, state tests will reflect the curriculum changes.

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